Astros to start Verlander in Game 1, Valdez for Game 2

Astros to start Verlander in Game 1, Valdez for Game 2

The Houston Astros have set their rotation for the American League Championship Series.

Right-hander Justin Verlander will start Game 1 on Sunday versus the Texas Rangers, while left-hander Framber Valdez gets the ball in Game 2 on Monday, Astros manager Dusty Baker announced Saturday, according to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com.

The Rangers will counter with left-hander Jordan Montgomery for the opener. The rest of the rotation hasn’t been disclosed yet.

Verlander, who returned to the Astros at the trade deadline following a short stint with the New York Mets, pitched six scoreless innings in a win over the Minnesota Twins in his only start of the 2023 playoffs so far. He owns a career 3.54 ERA with 236 strikeouts over 213 2/3 innings in the postseason.

Meanwhile, Valdez surrendered five earned runs over 4 1/3 innings in his outing against the Twins in the ALDS. The two-time All-Star only allowed four earned runs with 33 strikeouts over 24 innings in last year’s playoffs en route to helping Houston win the World Series.

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